by Nancy Morrish,
If you are visiting the historic Hudson Valley in New York this year, here are some suggestions to help you plan your trip before you go. The Hudson Valley has much to offer in addition to its lush foliage and rich history. Whether you are planning a vacation centered around hiking and climbing; sight-seeing, studying New York’s history, or a combination thereof, surely the beautiful Hudson Valley will not disappoint.
Mohonk Mountain House
Situated near New Paltz, NY, the Mohonk Mountain House serenely sits overlooking Lake Mohonk. The Victorian castle was built in 1869 and is one of the oldest family-owned resorts in the United States. You don’t have to stay at the historical resort to enjoy everything it has to offer. Experience the ambience of the Mohonk dining room and feast on a meal prepared by an award-winning chef; or pay for a day pass which will allow you to try your hand at rock scrambling up through the Lemon Squeeze and witness the breathtaking view from Skytop. For those more cautious, meander through the pretty flower gardens or take a stroll around the lake on one of the many available hiking trails. On the other hand, if you are looking for more adventure including some intense rock climbing, venture a little ways from the Mohonk Mountain House to the Shawangunk Ridge where you can watch or participate in some world-class rock climbing.
Culinary Institute of America
Culinary enthusiasts may want to put aside a half-day to visit Hyde Park to take in the Culinary Institute of America located on U.S. Route 9. Enjoy a public tour, which is worth the visit alone, or better yet, make plans to dine. The CIA has five student-staffed public restaurants for your dining experience. St. Andrews Café, American Bounty Restaurant, the Escoffier Restaurante, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici and the Apple Pie Bakery Café. With the exception of the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, reservations are recommended well ahead of time. Cancellations do occur, so if you don’t have any luck; try again one or two days ahead. While visiting Hyde Park, other nearby attractions worth visiting are the Vanderbilt Mansion Historic Site and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.
West Point Military Academy
An often-heard expression at West Point is, “much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.” Considering that some of the military students that attended the Military Academy include Grant, Lee, Eisenhower, Patton, MacArthur and Schwarzkopf; it would seem there is indeed merit to that statement. Nearly 3 million people visit West Point each year making it one of New York’s top three tourist attractions according to the New York State Department of Tourism. You may not access West Point on your own. In order to see it, you must go to the West Point Visitors Center where you can take a reasonably priced guided bus tour . Photo ID is required for anyone over 16 and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Walkway Over the Hudson
In 1889 trains began using a bridge that was then, not only considered a technological wonder of its time, but also the longest bridge in the world. Unfortunately a fire severely damaged the bridge in 1974 after nearly a century of use. In 1992, Walkway Over the Hudson started a project which would eventually, after years of acquiring funding and partnership with the Dyson Foundation, turn the bridge into a pedestrian park and walkway. The bridge links Poughkeepsie to Highland and at 1.28 miles, is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. It is worth a visit to read about the bridge’s history while walking across and standing 212 feet above the Hudson River.
Culinary Institute of America NY:
West Point Military Academy: About the Academy
Walkway Over the Hudson: